Columbine

Columbine

by

Dave Cullen

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Columbine can help.

Dave Cullen

A journalist who was present on the first day of the Columbine shootings, Dave Cullen has dedicated over ten years of his life to the meticulous, skillful research of Columbine—all that happened before, during, and… read analysis of Dave Cullen

Eric Harris

Eric Harris, the psychopathic ringleader of the Columbine shooting, kept meticulous journals for a year and a half prior to Columbine, planning the attack and describing his motive for carrying it out: his burning… read analysis of Eric Harris

Dylan Klebold

The second of the Columbine killers, Dylan Klebold was a “born genius” who, despite a sensitive disposition, experienced explosions of rage (most often brought on by failure or humiliation,) suicidal tendencies, a disdain for the… read analysis of Dylan Klebold

Dwayne Fuselier

The head of the FBI’s domestic terrorism unit in Denver at the time of the attack. His son, Brian, was inside Columbine during the shooting, though he was unharmed. Fuselier, a master hostage negotiator and… read analysis of Dwayne Fuselier

Frank DeAngelis / “Mr. D”

The principal of Columbine high school at the time of the shooting. A former coach, “Mr. D” was a loving, caring administrator and became a beacon of hope for many students in the wake of… read analysis of Frank DeAngelis / “Mr. D”
Get the entire Columbine LitChart as a printable PDF.
Columbine PDF

Dave Sanders

A teacher and coach at Columbine who was the only non-student to die in the attack. After shepherding students to safety, Dave was shot and sustained horrific injuries to two major arteries, resulting in a… read analysis of Dave Sanders

Patrick Ireland

A survivor of the Columbine attack who rose to national attention after dropping, bloodied and wounded, from the library window on to the roof of a SWAT vehicle. After a lengthy recovery from a debilitating… read analysis of Patrick Ireland

Robyn Anderson

Dylan’s prom date, Robyn was a “sweet little church girl” who was infatuated with Dylan, and who helped both him and Eric to purchase guns at a local gun show. Robyn eventually confesses her… read analysis of Robyn Anderson

Nate Dykeman

One of Eric’s friends who was off-campus at the time of the shooting. Once he hears that the shooters inside Columbine are wearing trench coats, he becomes “terrified” that Eric and Dylan are responsible… read analysis of Nate Dykeman

Chris Morris

One of Eric and Dylan’s friends and a coworker at Blackjack who, out of fear and guilt, reported himself to 911 directly after learning about the attacks. Chris knew that the boys were messing… read analysis of Chris Morris

Brooks Brown

A former friend of Eric Harris. The two, after experiencing a falling out, behave antagonistically toward one another, though Eric was the perpetrator of most of the threatening behavior. Eric threatened Brooks’ life on… read analysis of Brooks Brown

Cassie Bernall

One of the victims of the Columbine shooting, Cassie Bernall recovered from a troubled youth during which her mother, Misty, believed her to be possessed by Satan, and went on to become a member… read analysis of Cassie Bernall

Craig Scott

The older brother of Rachel Scott, the first victim of the shooting, Craig was a “jock” who started a false rumor about Cassie Bernall’s martyrdom, believing it to have been the truth but too… read analysis of Craig Scott

Wayne Harris

Eric’s father, once a “decorated air force test pilot” who, as of the events of Columbine, had been retired from the military for twenty-three years. As a disciplinarian with his children, he was a… read analysis of Wayne Harris

Don Marxhausen

The leader of a large Lutheran congregation near Columbine, Don Maxhausen took a controversial stance on Eric and Dylan in the wake of the attacks. Rather than describing the boys as tools or manifestations of… read analysis of Don Marxhausen

Val Schnurr

After being shot in the Columbine library, Val Schnurr “dropped to her knees” and prayed to God—when Dylan asked her if she believed in God, she replied that she did, and he reloaded his gun… read analysis of Val Schnurr

Mark Manes

A drug dealer who provides Eric with both a semiautomatic handgun-- a TEC-9—and a bounty of ammunition. He ultimately makes a full confession to investigators and is charged as a conspirator. He assures the judge… read analysis of Mark Manes

Phil Duran

A former Blackjack employee who once went to a shooting range with Eric and Dylan. Eventually, after investigators (with the help of Chris Morris) lock onto Duran, it is revealed that Duran put… read analysis of Phil Duran

John Stone

The newly-elected Jeffo sheriff who bungled the first press conference about the attacks by citing erroneous facts and making wildly speculative remarks at a crucial moment. When it is revealed that the Jeffco sheriff’s office… read analysis of John Stone

Steve Davis

The chief spokesman for the Jeffco sheriff’s department at the time of the attacks. The leader of the first press conference after the attack, he cautioned against repeating “rumors” that could erroneously describe the number… read analysis of Steve Davis

Brian Rohrbough

Danny Rohrbough’s father. Awash in anger after his son’s death, Brian removes the crosses dedicated to the shooters which are erected at a makeshift memorial for all the victims of Columbine. When families of the… read analysis of Brian Rohrbough

Misty Bernall

Cassie Bernall’s mother. After her daughter’s death in the Columbine shooting—which she believes to be one of martyrdom—she writes and publishes a book called She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernallread analysis of Misty Bernall

Brad Bernall

Cassie Bernall’s father. In the wake of Cassie’s death, he urges local teens to join youth group and get involved in their church, and struggles with his daughter’s loss much more visibly than his… read analysis of Brad Bernall
Minor Characters
Zack Heckler
Dylan’s former best friend, and a close friend of both Dylan and Eric at the time of the shootings. Zack was clueless about the guns at the time of the attack, but knew the boys had been making pipe bombs.
Tom Klebold
Dylan’s father. “Very communicative” with the police in the wake of the attack, Tom, like his wife, was blindsided by Dylan’s involvement in the shooting, having believed himself to be “extremely close” with Dylan.
Sue Klebold
Dylan’s mother. A Jewish woman and an intellectual who had believed herself relatively well in touch with her “sensitive son,” she was “shocked” by her son’s violent end and his association with Nazism, anti-Semitism, and desire for annihilation.
Kathy Harris
Eric’s mother, who remained close-lipped toward both the press and the authorities after the attack and so is “murky” in the eyes of the American public.
Emily Wyant
Emily Wyant was under the table with Cassie Bernall in the library, and witnessed Cassie’s tragic—but silent—death. Conflicted about whether or not to come forward with the truth after the story of Cassie’s valiant martyrdom “mushroomed,” Wyant eventually decided to tell her story to the Rocky Mountain News.
Robert Kirgis
The twenty-nine-year-old owner of the Blackjack Pizza where Eric and Dylan worked. He enjoyed hanging out with the boys on the roof, drinking and shooting off fireworks, once the restaurant had closed.